Duke University, Duke Law School

Durham, NC | 2008

The creation of Star Commons and the major renovation of the Goodson Library open up the inward-facing Law School to the rest of the campus while reestablishing the library and its reading room as a place of scholarship. A new heart for the Law School, the light-filled Commons reinforces the School’s sense of community, a powerful magnet for informal and organized social activities and events. The Commons is wrapped on two sides with glass, with mezzanine and classroom levels overlooking the three-story space. Light also infuses the 85,000 s.f. library and its range of meeting and conference rooms, individual and group study environments, and spaces for technology-supported learning. The expansion gives the Law School a new face, establishing the Commons as a landmark element that gives new emphasis to the adjoining main entrance and its monumental stair. The project is LEED certified.

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Duke Law School building dedication
"From the Library to the Commons," Duke Law Magazine


Shepley Bulfinch Team

Thomas Kearns
Kenneth Guditz
Joseph Rondinelli
Shaun Landon
Erin Cusker
Jesse Taylor
Shonali Rajani
Andrea Hsu
Alison Martin
Claude Greenberg
Carissa Donsker
Jeanne Carey
Peter Bracciotti



  • 2009 Award of Excellence (Renovation/Restoration), Southeast Construction
  • 2009

  • 2009 ABC Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction, Associated Builders & Contractors, Carolinas Chapter

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“The real foundation of a law school is not a building but rather a culture of thought, and if you should be able to develop that to a very high degree, nevertheless the day might occur to you when you might say to yourself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice building, too?’

When you reach the point where a great law school has a great building, you realize it wasn’t just an ornament, it really is an enabler of things, and so it had a function that was not secondary after all.”

" Dr. Richard Brodhead, President, Duke University, “From the Library to the Common,” Duke Law Magazine, Winter 2009

©2017 Shepley Bulfinch